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LEED 2012 Postponed to 2013, Renamed LEED v4

By Nadav Malin for Environmental Building News

In a surprise move, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that it is postponing plans to ballot the next version of LEED until as late as June 2013. With this announcement, USGBC promises to keep LEED 2009 available for a full three years from now, although it intends to gradually ramp up incentives for teams to move to the new version of LEED during that time.

The move came in response to a growing outcry from architects and other building industry professionals—including many who have been core supporters of LEED since its inception—who had three related concerns:

• The proposed changes in the rating system were too much, too fast, especially in a weak real estate market.

• Some of the changes needed more refinement, especially in the Materials & Resources category, where whole new approaches to material selection had been introduced and had changed significantly with each public comment draft.

• Tools and resources needed to achieve the credits would not be widely available by the time the new system was slated to launch in November 2012.

Compounding these concerns were doubts about the ability of USGBC’s sister organization, the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) to develop an effective certification process in such a short timeframe—fears that linger after the release of LEED 2009, which was marked by an ill-fated attempt to outsource the certification process to third-party certification bodies and glitches that marred the usability of LEED Online.

No longer tied to a particular year, USGBC is also reverting to a version naming system for the rating system, so the new version will be called “LEED v4” instead of “LEED 2012.”

The committees have been anticipating these changes for a long time, after the decision with LEED 2009 to minimize technical changes and focus on the reorganization and weighting of the credit structure. As a result, the credit requirement changes in the proposed LEED v4 rating system are the most extensive in LEED’s twelve-year history.

The new plan gives time for that beta test to proceed while allowing for its results to inform a fifth public comment draft, which is scheduled to run from October 2 to December 10, 2012. That timeframe encompasses the annual Greenbuild Conference and Expo, allowing for in-person interaction among USGBC members and other stakeholders about the proposed changes.

Read more at BuildingGreen